AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Management Informat Syst
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherJMIR PUBLICATIONS, INC
CitationZhan Y, Zhang Z, Okamoto JM, Zeng DD, Leischow SJ Underage JUUL Use Patterns: Content Analysis of Reddit Messages J Med Internet Res 2019;21(9):13038 URL:http://www.jmir.org/2019/8/e13038/doi:10.2196/13038
RightsCopyright © Yongcheng Zhan, Zhu Zhang, Janet M Okamoto, Daniel D Zeng, Scott J Leischow. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 24.08.2019. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution,and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://www.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.
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AbstractBackground: The popularity of JUUL (an e-cigarette brand) among youth has recently been reported in news media and academic papers, which has raised great public health concerns. Little research has been conducted on the age distribution, geographic distribution, approaches to buying JUUL, and flavor preferences pertaining to underage JUUL users. Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze social media data related to demographics, methods of access, product characteristics, and use patterns of underage JUUL use. Methods: We collected publicly available JUUL-related data from Reddit. We extracted and summarized the age, location, and flavor preference of subreddit UnderageJuul users. We also compared common and unique users between subreddit UnderageJuul and subreddit JUUL. The methods of purchasing JUULs were analyzed by manually examining the content of the Reddit threads. Results: A total of 716 threads and 2935 comments were collected from the subreddit UnderageJuul before it was shut down. Most threads did not mention a specific age, but ages ranged from 13 years to greater than 21 years in those that did. Mango, mint, and cucumber were the most popular among the 7 flavors listed on JUUL's official website, and 336 subreddit UnderageJuul threads mentioned 7 discreet approaches to circumvent relevant legal regulations to get JUUL products, the most common of which was purchasing JUUL from other Reddit users (n=181). Almost half of the UnderageJuul users (389/844, 46.1%) also participated in discussions on the main JUUL subreddit and sought information across multiple Reddit forums. Most (64/74, 86%) posters were from large metropolitan areas. Conclusions: The subreddit UnderageJuul functioned as a forum to explore methods of obtaining JUUL and to discuss and recommend specific flavors before it was shut down. About half of those using UnderageJuul also used the more general JUUL subreddit, so a forum still exists where youths can attempt to share information on how to obtain JUUL and other products. Exploration of such social media data in real time for rapid public health surveillance could provide early warning for significant health risks before they become major public health threats.
NoteOpen access journal
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsNIHUnited States Department of Health & Human ServicesNational Institutes of Health (NIH) - USA [5R01DA037378-05]; NNSFCNational Natural Science Foundation of China [71602184, 71472175, 71621002]; CASDefence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO)Chinese Academy of Sciences [ZDRW-XH-2017-3]; Ministry of Health of the People's Republic of China [2017ZX10303401-002]; Research Foundation of SKL-MCCS [20190212, 20190204]